Top Ten Thursday: The Best Film Discoveries of 2013

It has been a considerable time since i have committed to making a top ten thursday list.  Indeed, if it was not the last time that I did a best film discoveries of the year it was pretty damn close.  While I am still tenuously navigating the space between being certain I have found all my favorite films released in 2013 and being certain the list cannot change, I figured now was an appropriate time to attempt to deliver the list accordingly of my most favored films that were not released in 2013, but were first time encounters this year.  While I was able to catch up with some rather glaring shame spots in my filmic viewing (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Rio Bravo, My Neighbor Totoro) I decided to exclude those form the list, because I was fairly certain I would adore the films.  The list here is compromised of films that so utterly startled me as to make me considerably change my favorite films of all time list in very drastic and real ways.  These films have in varying forms altered my understanding of cinema, my academic research endeavors, or frankly were just so enjoyable as to rekindle the love for medium of film in a fresh and rewarding way.  In the past year I did a ton of marathons and even managed to tackle viewing a hundred movies in a single month.  The resulting list is barely a reflection of the options I had, but were certainly the most captivating outcomes.

10. Terrorvision (1986)

Between being what might be the zaniest film ever produced and being the most underrated film of the decade Terrorvision deserves all the cult adoration it has achieved.  Thanks to Shout Factory this overlooked horror/comedy/sci-fi study of the nuclear family in the misguided decadence of the 80's can be enjoyed by all in the highest of definitions.

Review Here

9. To Be or Not To Be (1942)

Ernst Lubitsch appeared a lot in my film viewing this year and while most of it was in regards to his silent work, this comedy that doubles as a scatting critique of Nazism managed to pull me into its narrative despite being viewed on a computer screen.  Indeed, this along with other works like The Doll and I Don't Want To Be a Man have led to me thinking that Lubitsch might be a single director research interest for me.

Review Here

8. Born Yesterday (1950)

This film was my first knowing introduction to the comedic genius of Judy Holliday and by far the most rewarding experience I had with a George Cukor film this past year.  The fact that it also happens to be a insightful consideration of gender relations in 1950 is equally engaging.

Review Here

7. The Man from Nowhere (2010)

I would be remised not to include at least one South Korean film on my year end list.  While I failed to watch as many as I would have liked, this accidental inclusion during my Kung Fu marathon was by far my favorite contemporary work from a country that still pushes the boundaries of cinematic possibility.

Review Here

6. Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

There is a agreed argument that Singin' in the Rain is the key text in the genre of the musical.  This is certainly true, but this Busby Berkeley choreographed film that has become a point of feminist critique is pretty damn close to its equal.

Review Here

5. Existenz (1999)

While this is probably not a universally adored Cronenberg film, it has, nonetheless, proven to be the single most important alteration in my understanding of cinematic possibilities and by extension my own continually evolving research interests.

I some how failed to actually blog about this film!

4. How the West Was Won (1962)

I watched a lot of westerns in May.  Most of them were brilliant.  While this is not the single most realized western, the use of Cinerama made it my favorite by far and it is essentially all the best parts of various westerns combined into a single epic film.

Review Here

3. Mind Game (2004)

I watched this film twice this year, it is still an enigma.  Furthermore, I watched quite a bit of animation, but this by far stretched my understandings of its conventions to their greatest point.

Review Hhttp://cinemalacrum.blogspot.com/2013/07/fear-takes-shape-we-are-willing-to-give.htmlere

2. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

If I were told two years ago that I might seriously add a kung-fu film to my top ten films of all time, I would have scoffed off the possibility, but then I saw this film.  Body identity and Buddhist learning oversee what might well be one of the most stunningly shot action films ever made.

Review Here

1. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

A absolutely moving film, this Powell and Pressburger film is a perfect navigation of color and black and white filmmaking that simply has to be seen to be believed.  While it does not receive the praise and adoration of The Red Shoes it is easily the greatest of the directing duo's works.

Review Here

Honorable Mention

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
The Illustrated Man (1969)
Fantastic Planet (1973)
Possession (1981)
Sunshine (2007)

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